Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Girls' Night In

*From Saturday, June 14th 2008*

Okay, so maybe I didn't spend tonight in the awesome city of Chicago meeting new people and living the life of a bachelor, but I did get to spend a wonderful evening with my son and our friends Sara, Stefanie, and Crosby (Stefanie's son) in Scranton. Home of The Office. So there.

My church's gathering got canceled tonight, but Stefanie was gracious enough to invite Jude and I over for a play date and dinner. Sara had the evening free, so I invited her to come along as well. We shared a veggie pizza, some great conversation, and the watermelon that had been rolling around the floor of the front seat of my car for the past three days. Jude and Crosby played together. Crosby modeled sharing to my sweet little boy. Jude systematically took each of Crosby's toys from him as he picked them up. Stefanie let my child have the run of her house and didn't break a sweat once... not even when he started pulling the books from her bookshelf. She is a seasoned mom: caring and kind; calm and collected; loving and engaging. Her and Crosby have such a lovely relationship. I love watching them interact. I hope I can be as present to Jude as Stefanie is to Crosby. I hope that when Jude is five, the bond between he and I is as apparent as the one between Crosby and Stefanie is.

Tonight's impromptu girls' night supplied me with a much needed break. Sara and Stefanie each had a hand in watching Jude... Sara repeatedly picked him up and threw him in the air, and Stefanie fed him watermelon while I finished my pizza. Crosby even helped out by yelling, "HE'S ON THE STAIRS! I NEED HELP! HE'S ON THE STAIRS!" when Jude crawled over to and up the stairs. And even more than all of that, tonight's get-together gave me a little break from being me. Tonight I wasn't lonely. I didn't want for adult interaction. I didn't worry (too much) about Jude being wound up so close to his bedtime. I had thoughtful conversations with two extremely thoughtful women. I relinquished my need to hover and my need to worry and be uptight.

That's right, people of the internet, I truly feel that it's not just that I'm wired to worry and to be uptight, I feel like the need to worry and be uptight is ingrained in me. It's subconscious for the most part, but every now again when I'm with Jude and he's being fussy (for instance) I'll get very close to being able to just shrug it off and accept that sometimes kids just get fussy, but then I start thinking that his crankiness is supposed to upset and frustrate me. That's what parents do: they lament when their children have bad days; they feel helpless; they grow tired of the crying. They lose it, and thus, so do I.

Tonight, I was able to let go of that need. I let Jude play without worrying. When we got home tonight, I recognized that he was probably a bit overtired and just accepted the fact that he might not settle in as easily as he normally does. He cried while I was in the shower, but instead of getting anxious and feeling like I had to feel like I had to rush through my shower (does that make sense?), I talked to him and sang while I finished up as quickly as I could without throwing out my back from hurried and over-zealous body washing. The wonderful thing about tonight was that Jude and I had a great time together. He had fun playing at Stef's. He calmed down really quickly once I got out of the shower and rescued him from his crib, and he actually settled in to sleep quite easily, despite being overtired. I don't know if it's the luck of the draw or if he has picked up on me being more in tune with how I react to him and his needs, but today, even if it wasn't spent walking the fantastic Chicago streets, was a really great day for us.

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